Oh my goodness, she's back at her blog! That's what I IMAGINE my readers are saying when this post comes up on their blogroll. Again, I IMAGINE that I actually am on your blogroll and if I am, that you are actually bothering to read past word one. Because I abandoned you. Ran off with the paper boy! Which I most certainly did not because we do not take the paper here in our house and if we did, the paper boy would be more than a half-century younger than me and besides the fact that he would be horrified at the very thought of running away with Grandma, well it would be just so not right! Okay. Truth. I left you for a novel. A half-written novel about a priest and a girl and his best friend. And his grandma. Grandma is my heroine. So that's where I've been.
But it's that last day of the year. The last chapter in the book of 2014 and
want need to write about something other than my young priest and his grandma. I want to tell you about my New Year's Resolution. Wait! I know most folks turn their noses up at resolutions. They say, "It just set's me up for failure." They get haughty and say, "I PREFER to live in the moment." Which to my way of thinking is a lot like me saying, "No, I don't want to play volleyball with you. I'd rather play scrabble." Which is my way of saying, "I suck at sports and I don't want do them because I get humiliated when I try to hit the ball and wind up on my rear with my left leg sprawled over my right shoulder and a big fat bruise on my tush. And worse than that; you will laugh at me and I HATE being laughed at because though I intellectually understand that everybody falls down and it's no big deal; emotionally I really think that I am the worst klutz on the planet and that EVERYBODY else is more agile than me. So leave me alone with my scrabble game...OKAY?"
We all have ways of protecting ourselves, don't we? Just humor me here and continue reading. You don't have to make a resolution OR play volleyball. Promise.
So my resolution. I didn't make it up. It came to me. The same way that the priest and the girl came to me. Writers call that their muse. Christians call it the Holy Spirit. I just know that this idea was foisted upon me from another person and place. My intuition calls him God. Sometimes He talks directly to me. Often He uses people. Like Doctor Patterson.
"You need to get neurotic about stretching!" said the good doctor on my last visit when I asked him to exorcise a demon called plantar fasciitis from my foot and whined about my aching hips. And shoulders. And neck. Maybe I'm being a bit touchy here, but I'm convinced he used the word 'neurotic' on purpose. He must think I'm a bundle of neuroses. Just because I perseverate about every little ache, about people making fun of me when I play volleyball, about what I may have said to offend the grocery clerk to make her viciously slam my apples on the counter-bruising them beyond recognition, about my relationship with my mother (she's deceased), about whether the dog will get sick and die from eating fake plants and should I even have fake plants because of this; even though real ones make me sneeze...so am I preferring the dog to myself...and is this emotionally healthy??? Or maybe I'm preferring myself to the dog by having fake plants to keep me from sneezing. I don't know. It's all so confusing.
The inside of my brain has more twists and turns than a Six Flags amusement park.
So I take his advise. Order some books because that's what I do when I'm about to embark on a new neurosis. "Flexibility Over Fifty, " and "Age Defying Fitness." I read them cover to cover then began. I was in the middle of the inner thigh stretch; straddling a folding chair in a very unlady-like position when God spoke to me. This time directly.
"Make flexibility your New Year's Resolution." He said.
"I AM. I ALREADY HAVE!" I answer, making sure my knees and toes are out to the side at a precisely 45-degree angle and gently pushing the cellulite on my inner thigh--which pushes back not-so-gently.
"Physically AND Emotionally," was the response.
"Oh. What would that entail?" I wonder.
So I Googled emotional flexibility and read a bunch of clinical studies that are probably less interesting than this blog...were it possible. But two words stood out in the studies. Like a Budweiser neon sign to an alcoholic. RE-FRAME. Apparently that's what emotionally healthy people do when faced with minor stressors. And DISTRACT. That's what they do with the big ones. Distract themselves. Because they can't do anything else.
Wow! So people actually do that and it's not considered self-delusion and denial? Who knew?
So I'm trying it. Yesterday I took the stretching thing a bit too far. Physically speaking. My overdone neck stretches left me stuck--kinda like when you get the jelly-jar lid off-kilter and now you can't unscrew it or turn it in either direction. So I spent the morning lying in the bathtub with Epsom Salts and popping as many Advil as allowable by state law. (Which the OLD me might perseverate about--wondering if I'm giving myself Advil-induced-bleeding ulcers.) But NOT THIS TIME! I CAN RE-FRAME. AND IF THAT DOESN'T WORK I CAN DISTRACT! So I told myself that the pain was temporary and would be better tomorrow. I played my favorite Pandora station and put votive candles all around the tub while I soaked. (the battery operated kind, because the real ones make me stuffy.) I only worried for a moment about the possibility of the dog knocking the candles into the tub, and reasoned that battery operated candles wouldn't actually electrocute me like 110 volts would...would they? Naw! "Distract yourself from that thought! I told myself. "Read a book while you soak. A pleasant book..."
Today my neck is much better. I was able to look both ways when I crossed the street to get the mail. I think I may be onto something here. Be Flexible. Re-frame. Distract. My new mantra for 2015. Who knows? Maybe I'll get flexible enough to play volleyball!
Whoa there! Baby steps. First the neck. Then the hips. Then maybe I'll think about volleyball. Or maybe I'll just distract myself with Scrabble while others play...
Happy New Year! Whether you resolve to or not; may 2015 be very best chapter of your life so far!